i have reservations about mcguff’s exercise regimen, because the pictures demonstrating various free weight lifts show abominable form which is more likely to lead to injury than to strength — how can i trust someone like that with other information? the entire section on how to perform the exercises in “body by science” is poor. i also reject the notion that nautilus machines are the be-all and end-all of good strength training; if anything, they force your body into a single path with one-path-fits-all determination, and i didn’t like my machine experience anywhere as much as my experience with free weights. it just didn’t seem to work my body as completely as free weights do. i was wondering whether mcguff was BFFs with the guy who owns nautilus. the choice of exercises is largely sensible; they’re big, compound moves, which is good. but the deadlift is missing, which i prefer, the leg press is bogus; i’d squat instead, and i’d add a rotational and a unilateral movement, without which a workout does not work your whole body IMO. FWIW, an upright row movement does work the rotator cuff muscles.
it’s not the only or best way to work out. it’s the minimally effective way, supposedly. as in, the absolute minimum if you don’t want to steadily deteriorate. i don’t know whether it does that; i wasn’t willing to try because i am aiming for more. i don’t think it makes you lean.
and yeah, i’d get bored with those machine exercises, but IF this worked, what’s 12 min of slight boredom a week? with free weights it’s different, but whether you might get bored with them too depends on how geeky you get about lifting. before i ever did any strength training i thought there wasn’t much technique to any of the lifts i saw people do. now that i am doing it myself, i realize how much there is to learn about technique. i’ve been following dan john’s 40-day program for the last 6 weeks, 6 days a week, the same 5 lifts every day (with variations in sets, reps, and weights), and i am not bored. after 8 weeks i’ll switch the exercises out for equivalents working the same muscle groups; dan john actually recommends switching every 4 weeks, but i needed the confidence builder. i now have a bit of a “zen” feeling because i’ve become so familiar with those lifts, and feel like i am in a groove. it’s strangely relaxing even though i am now lifting heavier weights than i did before when i worked a lot harder at it.
6 days a week is rather a lot more than 12 min, but as i said, i am aiming for more than maintenance of relative decrepitude. the 40-day workout is short (30 min), the weights are relatively light (40-70% of max), and it’s got enough flexibility to keep me from being bored, so it works for me (the first exercise program in decades that does).
there are a lot of other options, without working yourself to death. i second pavel tsatsouline as well; he has some innovative stuff that’s not too demanding of one’s time either. there’s also “you are your own gym” which does it all with your own body as resistance (which means you don’t need a gym membership or expensive equipment). lots of variety, scales beautifully, can be done anywhere.